South African Music Zine
edited by Sugar
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SA RECORD COMPANIES
David Gresham Records,
M.E.L.T 2000 Afrika South,
Tic Tic Bang,
and Third Ear Music
MUSIC ON-SITE-LOPEDIA, Looking for a CD? Can't name that song? Got a question? Ask Sugar!
The Soweto String Quartet - Endemic Violins
Imagine if the best selling import albums from the UK and USA were the
London Philharmonic Orchestra's 'Classic Rock' and 'The Best Of The Boston
While I appreciate that the SSQ's classical cover versions appeal to many MOR listeners out there, it does equate with doing all your supermarket shopping only from the racks right by the cashiers. A quick stroll past the prominent new releases rack at Top CD in the Waterfront in Cape Town confirms the fact that the SSQ albums are prime tourist fodder, as there is always a noticeable gap in the SSQ pile. A chat to one of the counter assistants reveals that these SSQ albums are currently outselling any of the many other SA albums on display.With so much international interest in the music of South Africa, one wonders how good this is for the rest of the SA artists.
One may argue that the success of the SSQ can only open doors for the others to stream through, but because the SSQ style is so safe, obvious and diluted, how can it inspire anyone to check out some other SA styles and sounds. This music panders to those out there who imagine that this music is the epitome of cool in SA, and is as popular here as it is there. More deserving albums like Paul Hanmer's 'Trains To Taung', Busi Mhlongo's 'Urbanzulu' or even the 'Kwaito Hits' compilation have to rely on the old "word of mouth" route to get known. According to the manager of a SA-based online CD store that specializes in SA CDs, the SSQ are nowhere near the top of the most requested SA CDs list.
The SSQ are currently touring the US with the Dance Theatre Of Harlem (DTH, acronym fans) and will be playing many of the bigger centres in the US over a two month period. The SSQ and the dancers from the DTH will be performing a ballet titled 'South African Suite' (should be 'South African Sweet, my china!'). So all those lovers of "fine" music in the US will flock to see this cultural explosion and feel that they have truly caught the SA musical experience. All that will happen is that this will increase the demand for similar music and then whom do we send next?
Let it never be said that I don't approve of the SSQ's music and begrudge
them their success. They've worked hard and deserve all they have and will
achieve. But it really is creating a misleading picture of what is really
happening musically down here. Kwaito is growing in stature and popularity,
jazz is being given a new life in the hands of artists like McCoy Mrubata,
Jimmy Dludlu and Moses Taiwa Molelekwa (to name a few) and rock is beginning
to move away from the "lets impress Barny Simon" direction and beginning
to get very original and creative. Yet these artists are still struggling
to get known and heard
Understandably the majors are looking to break their biggest acts internationally, but couldn't they send BoomShaka, TKZee or Paul Hanmer along as support to create a new interest. In the bad old days, tourists to South Africa were hauled off to watch the "mine dancers" and then felt they'd had an authentic South African experience. Now we are sending a similar kind of watered-down entertainment to them. The effect will be exactly the same. It really is time we stopped the violins and started to market the artists who truly deserve it.
Lots of SA CDs to buy online at One World.
There's also the Two Oceans Trading online shopping mall where you can purchase Springbok rugby merchandising, SA books, jewellery and CD-ROMs, amongst many other items.
Any thoughts, requests, problems, complaints, praise or interesting and relevant SA music news, please email it immediately to: email@example.com
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